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At the risk of sounding dramatic, I’ve just got to say that I’ve been waiting years to say this: I’m finally going back to Paris!! I love all that is Paris so much I pretty much based my website around it (ha, but really) and I say “finally” because it seems that every time I tried to go back, life would throw me a curveball. Moving, pregnancy (the best type of curveball), newborn, pandemic, lockdown…you get the picture.
But now the world is opening up and so was a week on my calendar. After all, Paris is always a good idea, according to Audrey Hepburn. I’ll just add to her infamous quote and say that Paris is always a good idea…especially when you plan to talk about it to death on your website. 😉
Though I do all my research before writing about Parisian fashion and I’m 110% confident about what I write, I’m excited that I get to personalize my upcoming Parisian posts.
You may have seen that I recently posted about what to wear when visiting the beautiful City of Light in the spring, but now I get to talk about what’s on my personal Paris packing list!
Credit cards? Check. Good camera? Check. But who cares about that, I know what Paris packing list you really want to see! Here you’ll find the 10 clothing essentials that I’m bringing.
Of course, I’m packing more than 10 items, but I’ll dive into the ones that I would consider the most essential.
And keep in mind that I’m bringing more than the average person needs to bring. I have some work-related posts I want to do, plus I want to stock up on classic outfit pictures, but not everyone needs to bring 4 purses (in fact, I’d probably recommend you don’t!). You certainly do not need to bring as much as I am to still have chic outfits.
Paris Packing List Essentials
1. Chic Outerwear- Trench Coat & Blazers
Space is a bit limited (What? Airlines won’t allow me to bring my whole wardrobe? Rude.), so I have to narrow down what jackets and coats I’m bringing.
A trench coat is one of the best things to bring because not only does it act as a light jacket without looking like an American windbreaker, but it’s timeless and very French! My favorite trench coat from Everlane that I’m bringing is discontinued, but this is their new arrival and it still looks good.
A blazer is perfect to have as an extra layer without the bulk of a coat. The spring months (fall is a close second) are some of the best times to travel to Paris because you can have stylish layers without drowning in heavy outerwear. Paris weather in the spring is mild and enjoyable and even more enjoyable in a chic blazer!
Not only is a blazer semi-practical, but it will instantly make all your outfits look better. I plan to wear my blazers with my jeans, skirt, and dresses.
Part outerwear part top- that’s the beauty of this versatile clothing piece. A white, beige, or cream cardigan is not just a spring must-have, it’s a French girl must-have too!
The key is to have a cardigan that is slightly oversized but could also be buttoned up and worn as a shirt. Leave the type of open cardigans that you wear with leggings at home.
I’ll be wearing mine tucked into jeans, over a basic tee, with my floral wrap dress, slip dress, skirt, and well, everything!
3. Comfortable Walking Shoes
Everyone needs a pair of shoes (or two) that won’t make them want to cut their feet off by the end of the week. A lot of walking is a given (and encouraged) so comfortable walking shoes are a must and it’d just be a fashion tragedy to have a super chic outfit only to throw on a pair of running sneakers as an afterthought.
Thankfully, cute yet comfortable shoes exist! For stylish walking shoes, these high-quality loafers, cushiony ballet flats, and stylish white sneakers will be my go-to shoes, switching out to a block heel for pictures or a nice dinner.
High heels are a little overkill and aren’t what French women wear all day walking through the cobblestone streets. When the weather gets warm, I’d avoid flip-flops as well, and instead, opt for a leather slide or strappy sandal instead.
4. Basic Tees
A few different color options in a short sleeve shirt are great for a Paris trip. They’re easy to pack, simple to wear, and allow you to create a lot of different outfits. One of the best things is that you can wear them under a blazer or tucked into a floral skirt- the options abound!
As you know by now, neutral colors are the bread and butter of a classic and/or Parisian wardrobe. But for spring, I’m packing a lot less black and dark navy and instead, more beiges, grays, and whites, with a few pops of red.
5. Chic Dresses- Slip Dress & Floral Wrap Dress
Thinking through my itinerary, I won’t actually have a place to wear the infamous little black dress. Instead, I’m going for the little white dress instead. Well, ivory that is.
Parisian women are big fans of the slip dress. It’s perfect for the warmer weather, can easily be worn with an outer layer, and can be dressed up or down. The perfect clothing item for this French capital!
For warm spring days, a floral wrap dress is a must. I’ll be wearing mine with my cardigan, basket bag, gold coin necklace, and slides!
6. Stylish Bag
Though most people may opt for a travel backpack because it’s easier and more practical, you don’t want to overlook your purse! It can be the finishing touch to your outfit.
It’s helpful to have at least one crossbody bag to keep your hands free, so I will be bringing my one and only Chanel bag (because it’s Paris after all!). It’s too hard for me to narrow down the rest of my bags, so well, I’m not. 😉
I’m also bringing a structured Hermès look-alike for classy outfits, a straw bag to offset the seriousness of my black clothes, and a basket bag because it will look Parisian chic with my floral wrap dress and ballet flats.
7. Straight Leg Jeans
Skinny jeans aren’t “out”, but they’re not the preferred pair of jeans as of late. Vintage, slim, or straight leg jeans are what don the streets of Paris and you’ll see me following suit. One white and one blue pair of jeans is all you need!
If you’re putting together your own Paris packing list, leave the yoga pants at home. Leggings could potentially work for your trip, just make sure they’re not the athletic spandex type leggings. Something interesting and stylish like ribbed, stirrup leggings, or even plain basic is the way to do comfy chic!
Related: How to Wear Jeans Like a French Girl
8. Striped Shirt and/or Sweater
You don’t have to be all cliche and wear your striped tee with a trench coat, beret, and baguette at the same time, but still, a marinière is an actual wardrobe must-have for French women. It’s not just a myth! I’ll be wearing mine with my classic jeans.
9. Silk Scarf
I love how a scarf is so chic and really ties an outfit together.
Look for a slightly larger silk scarf that can also double as a chic headscarf too! You can wear this with your jeans and basic tees to dress down the outfit and still make it look casual chic.
1o. Gold Jewelry
Rest assured, you don’t need to pack a giant jewelry pile to look chic. I’m only bringing two things: gold hoops and a gold coin necklace. I know I’ll be set! These classic items match everything and anything and add just the right amount of class to an outfit.
If this is your first time going to the City of Love, then you’ll want to learn the basics of French fashion first. Keep reading to learn how to dress Parisian chic and to check out my Parisian travel capsule wardrobe for the perfect Paris outfits!